Month: January 2014

Pete Seeger, R.I.P.

Pete Seeger, 1919 – 2014. A life well-lived and a perfect example of how a banjo and a man of his convictions can change the world. If I had a hammer I’d hammer in the morning I’d hammer in the evening all over this land I’d hammer out danger, I’d hammer out warning I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters All over this land If I had a bell I’d ring it in the morning I’d ring it in the evening all over this land I’d ring our danger, I’d ring out warning I’d ring out love between my brothers and my sisters All over this land If I had a song I’d sing it in the morning I’d sing it in the evening all over this land I’d sing out danger, I’d sing out warning I’d sing out love between my sisters and my brothers All over this land When I’ve got a hammer, and I’ve got a bell And I’ve got a song to sing all over this land It’s …

Wise Women Writers You Probably Don’t Know (But Should)

(Note:  This post was updated on March 10, 2018) I came to a realization last evening that the writers I most enjoy reading on the web are (almost) all women. And once I came to that realization, I began thinking about my favorite writers you probably don’t know, but should.  Five names quickly popped into my head and just like that, this blog post was born. These women are very different, but there is wisdom to be found in each one’s work.  I have regular communication and interaction with three but have met all five. Three are teachers (and one of the three teaches writing in Hawaii, Havana, Paris, and Washington – I’m assuming she doesn’t get paid much, but there are other benefits!). One is a colleague at work who is early in her craft. The other is my former Rector.  All five make a living – one way or the other – with their writing. Four of the five have blogs, which you’ll see to the right under my (new) category of Reading …

Baseball, Springsteen, infomercials and anything else that comes to mind

On my way home from work this evening, I decided to open my iPad to Joe Posnanski’s blog and just read and read until the train pulled up at the Silver Spring station.  Thirty-five minutes of bliss. Why? Perhaps I wanted to think about something besides work.  As my colleague Allie said yesterday, “It has been a very long short week.” Perhaps I am really getting sick of this endless string of days with temperatures in the single digits and wind chills below zero. (I vote for this as the real reason.  I don’t mind cold, but enough already!) Perhaps it is my first step in 2014 in my own personal baseball preseason, a topic I’ve written on before. Or perhaps I just needed my regular fix of Joe.  What’s not to love in a blog with the subtitle of “Curiously long post about baseball, Springsteen, infomercials and anything else that comes to mind.” If you don’t know Joe Posnanski, you haven’t looked over to the right in my “Baseball Online” links and clicked on …

Put on a Sweater Like Patti Page

  I loved the recent Treehugger post In Praise of the Dumb House. Go ahead.  Click on the link and read the blog post from Lloyd Alter.  When you get to the picture of Patti Page, you may laugh out loud.  I did. Alter talks about all the newfangled gadgets to keep your house temperature perfect – and environmentally correct. But he points out the problem with this line of thinking: As Victor Olgyay noted exactly 50 years ago in his book Design with Climate, comfort is not determined by temperature alone, but by a combination of temperature, humidity and air movement. The Nest thermostat turns an air conditioner or furnace on or off, where you might be just as comfortable opening a window or turning on a fan. That’s what you would do in a dumb home. Instead, the Nest causes you to use energy to do what used to be free. He then goes on to say: There is also another problem with the smart thermostat: people no longer put on such smart sweater …

A Front Seat at the Polar Vortex

My new office provided me with an unexpected – but fascinating – front seat at the Polar Vortex. One thing I love about our new offices at the Watergate Office Building is that we have a terrific view of the Potomac River.  When I arrived yesterday morning (Tuesday, January 7th), I initially recovered from the 4 degree temperature and then looked out my window.  Surprise!  I had not thought about how the river would respond to the cold weather, but I saw ice beginning to form.  I made a mental note to check back frequently. The first picture – shown at the top of the post – was taken in the late morning on Tuesday from my office window.  As you can see, ice patches were already forming across the entire span of the river. Late in the afternoon, I took the next picture from the same vantage point.  While it is difficult to see, a full sheet was quickly forming. Since I knew the temperatures were not rising above the freezing point overnight, I …

Just What is the BBVA Compass Bowl?

I called my father – the long-suffering Vanderbilt alum – earlier today to celebrate the fact that the Commodores were in their third straight post-season bowl game. I believe I noted that the “end of the world was near.” For a family that grew up watching Vanderbilt football, having a successful football program does bring worries about the balance of nature being seriously out-of-whack. My father always referenced the 1945 Alabama vs. Vanderbilt game as typical of what a school that – how shall we say this delicately – cared somewhat more about academics than the rest of its Southeastern Conference brethren had to deal with on a season-by-season basis.  According to family lore, Alabama had stockpiled players in ROTC in 1945 as the war effort was winding down.  The result:  a 71-0 shellacking.  To this day, I have never heard my father root for the Crimson Tide.  (For those who join us in our feelings toward Alabama football, I recommend Brian Phillips’ hilarious take on Nick Saban’s Nightmare following the Tide’s “upset” loss to …